Dandelions

dandelion1.jpgOur rabbit and guinea pigs love dandelions, especially the flowers - and I've always known they could be eaten by humans, just never really quite got around to trying them.

Well, some folks on the Straight Dope Message Board were talking about eating the flowers fried like breaded mushrooms - that sounded pretty good, so I went off and picked a few

dandelion2.jpgI didn't pick many, as I wasn't sure how good this was going to be - and they were picked late in the day, so they were starting to close up - not exactly ideal. Anyway...

Also in there are some flowers from wild three-cornered leeks that are growing in the woods near my house.

dandelion3.jpgI made a quick batter from an egg, an ounce or so of plain flour and a pinch of curry powder.

I washed the flowers carefully and coated them in the batter.

dandelion4.jpgThen I shallow fried them, for about three minutes in total, turning once in the middle of cooking.

dandelion5.jpgThey came out looking like this. Crispy and fluffy.

I sprinkled them with a little salt and we all tried some. Everybody agreed they were really very good. A definite thumbs up for this wild food.

Other Uses For Dandelions

The young leaves can be eaten in salads. I've made coffee substitute from the roasted roots - and that was pretty good - tolerably similar to coffee, but with dark, syrupy licorice tones - which made it good in its own right.

Looks Familiar...

dandelion6.jpgWhen I was washing and preparing the flowers, they kept reminding me of something, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was...

- then, suddenly, realisation dawned.

Drowned Wasps

Collectively, the flowers look like drowned wasps. That's what it was.

What Do They Taste Like?

Pretty good.
Of course, the batter contributes quite a lot to the experience of eating dandelions, but the flavours of the flower do come subtly through.

They taste slightly nutty, faintly of honey, with a pleasant green vegetable tang, but also a hint of spicy aromatic freshness - like pine resin, perhaps.

These are inadequate descriptions. Summary: fried dandelion flowers in batter are very nice to eat - well worth trying.

Next Time

Next time I'll pick some larger flowers, and get them in the middle of the day when they're wide open - as well as tasting just great, they should look a bit nicer fried, if they retain their circular shape.

I'll also try a different batter - maybe just beer and flour with no egg - the egg batter is nice enough, but does not stay crispy for long after cooking

Comments

1. On Friday, November 12, 2010, 22:46 by Barb

Hi I love your blog. The projects are cool. I wanted to tell you that I have been eating dandelions in salads forever. They're good in a fresh salad or as wilted greens. You want to pick the smallest most tender leaves though. They have a spicy flavor

2. On Monday, March 7, 2011, 11:29 by M K

Good grief! I did not know they were eatable! Well, I live in the south of England too. I have quite a few of them growing around - let's see what they taste like ;-Btw, I should also point out that Dandelions are the favourite haunt of ladybirds. I do

3. On Monday, March 7, 2011, 13:34 by Mike (For Atomic Shrimp)

I don't think there's any danger of me making even a slight dent in the local dandelion population. Didn't know about the ladybirds though - but we've been invaded by the Asian Harlequin Ladybird here, which I think has either destroyed or outcompeted

4. On Thursday, January 31, 2013, 20:07 by Martin

One thing to be aware of when eating dandelions is that they are a diuretic. Their nicknames are piss-the-beds and piss-a-beds. They are perfectly good to eat, but I wouldn't recommend them after a night on the beer.

5. On Thursday, January 31, 2013, 20:33 by Mike (for Atomic Shrimp)

Then again, if they're consumed along with enough fluids to replenish the loss, they might make you feel better - flushing fatigue poisons out of the system, maybe...

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